Conference: Books and publishing in a digital age – University of Copenhagen

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07 January 2014

Conference: Books and publishing in a digital age

April 29-30, 2014, University of Copenhagen, Auditorium 22.0.11

Keynote speakers

James Collins, Professor of Film and Television, and English at the University of Notre Dame. Author of “Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture became Popular Culture”.

Tore Slaatta, Professor of media studies, Oslo University, author of many articles on the publishing industry in Norway and Europe (together with Professor Helge Rønning).

John B. Thompson, Professor of sociology, Cambridge University. Author of “Merchants of Culture. The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century” and “Books in the Digital Age”.

Read more about the speakers here

Aim of the conference

The conference will focus on the digital revolution of the book and consider how this is transforming the book as a medium in terms of technology, industry, aesthetics and culture. The book is one of the oldest and still most important media, but the medium of the book is currently undergoing important transformations both in terms of technology, industry structure, cultural policies, and aesthetic possibilities. The proliferation of the e-book has changed the ways in which books are produced, stored, distributed and read, but other forms of new media also come to influence the book as a medium. The web and social network media allow readers to publish and share their own work, enable book readers to review and criticize literature and thereby bypassing traditional cultural gatekeepers like literary reviewers. Global media players like Google, Amazon and Apple have introduced new forms of libraries, bookstores and business models and public libraries are undergoing significant developments transforming themselves from book archives to information service providers. Digital media open for new aesthetic possibilities of multi-modal books and allow readers to interact with the text. 

Traditionally, the book as a medium has been influenced by the literary institution (defining the book as an object of art or culture) and the educational institution (defining the book as the preferred medium for learning) In both cases this has structured the ways in which books have been published, distributed and read. With the growing technological, institutional and aesthetic convergence between the media, the book is now becoming more integrated into a global and digital media culture.

In addition to keynote lectures invited paper presentations will address:

  • E-books: developments and influence on production, distribution and reading of digital books vis-à-vis print books
  • Changes in the publishing industry: new value chains and gatekeepers, the role of digital standards, acquisitions of rights, bestsellerism and big books, etc.
  • Convergence between books and other media: cross-media storytelling, cross-media promotion, etc.
  • The role of the book reader in a converging media culture: multimodal texts and reading experiences, the reader as reviewer, etc.
  • The changing role of public libraries and cultural policies regarding book publishing and distribution. 

Program for the conference here


The international journal Northern Lights 
published by Intellect Press is announcing a call on Books and Publishing in a Digital Age for a journal issue to be published in 2015. This is a possible publication venue for presentations at this conference.

Note: Acceptance for this journal issue is independent of the acceptance of papers for the conference. More information about Northern Ligths may be found at the publisher's website: http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-journal,id=143/view,page=2/